This review is from: The Immigrants' Daughter: A Private Battle to Earn the Right to Self-actualization (Paperback)
I lead the book discussion group at the Huntington Beach Central Library in Huntington Beach. Two months ago we read and talked about "The Immigrants' Daughter", a memoir by Mary Terzian. Everybody in our group enjoyed the read and were delighted with the author's humor. What is more pertinent, the discussion was lively. Topics ranged from what it must have been like to live in Egypt during World War II, to learning your mother tongue (Armenian in this case) in your ethnic school along with the local language Arabic, and to ingesting two foreign languages, both necessary for survival in cosmopolitan Cairo. Plenty of other questions were raised, too, like what happens when you are forced to leave your homeland and seek asylum in a foreign country (the author's parents were Armenian emigrants from Turkey), how do you deal with a stepmother who is inexperienced in dealing with children, what do you do when you are a smart girl and your father refuses to pay for your education. He assumed females didn't need an education.
"The Immigrants' Daughter" is a multi-layered story. The crossing of cultures further widens the gap between generations, resulting in a clash of mentalities - traditionalism versus integration and emancipation - a problem very common to displaced families. The members of my group are still talking about the book.
Diane Schochet. Leader of the book discussion at the Huntington Beach Central Library in Huntington Beach, California